SPOKANE, WA— (Shadow match report) Coming off their scoreless season opener, the two sides in the early going looked headed in a similar direction until a deflected ball found Jesse Retan in the right side of the box. He quickly took advantage of the open space and went to goal before slicing with the outside of his foot a sharp-angled effort toward the far post. Joel Duncan was there and put the ball away for the go-ahead tally.
Duncan nearly added a second just five minutes later when a rebound came out to him near the top of the box, but his ripped effort was saved by Jacob Rhodes.
At the other end Tony Watters picked up his second shutout in three games. He made a nice save on a rising shot from Antonio Ruiz in the 36th minute. Yakima would go into the intermission on shouts for a penalty in the final minute of the half that went unheard.
The Hoppers continued to look for the equalizer early in the second half and created some early scares for the home side. A minute in Ruiz sent another rising shot from 20 yards that Watters had to leap and snare with his fingertips and made another great stop moments later when Hector Valdovinos had an open look from 14 yards out on the left side.
The Shadow settled things down and began to reclaim control of the contest. In the 62nd minute they nearly doubled the lead on a great chance when Michael Mollay chipped a spinning ball inside the box over a defender. Zach Hamer got to the bouncing ball at the edge of the six and nearly headed a looping ball over Rhodes, who managed to tip the ball onto the roof of the goal.
Ten minutes later the visitors against widened eyes when Ramon Ayala fired a shot from close range only to see it sky over the goal.
A corner kick in the 75th, though, gave the hosts firm command of the match when Eric Espinoza’s ball from the right soared to the far post where Hamer snuck a header past the keeper.
Four minutes later Jonny Cortez nearly pushed the margin to three when he drove to goal and fired an angled shot from the left side that smacked off the far right face of the crossbar.
The match result sees the Shadow improve to 10 standings points after 5 matches played, good enough for second place with a 3-1-1 record. Yakima United are still in search of their first win as they sit at the base of the table with 2 points off on a 0-2-2 start.